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My Robot Is Pregnant theme song!

tough guy poetry and manly stories of loneliness
all contents copyright Jon Rolston 2004, 2005, 2006

November 24, 2007

dreams don’t go away they just get smaller

Dante met me for lunch. I bought him Irish instead of Italian. You’d think with his accent I could have gotten it right. They had foccacia among their curry pasties and Belfast Baps.

“The double c comes after the a” Dante said, pointing to the sign in the deli case. It was an Irish coffee shop with pastries and lunch. “Focaccia.”

“I know, I’m half Italian” the woman serving us said. What kind of ethnic place is this? Dante and I sat down to eat. Two chicken curry pasties, that half Indian half Irish flaky crust stuffed with curry meat and vegetables.

“I grew up very poor in Italy, and when I told people I wanted to be a film director, they laughed. It only takes a few times before you learn to keep your dreams to yourself.”

But Dante made it to America, to Hollywood, where he became an editor of film and television.

“Probably being a director would have killed me with the stress.”

He asked me about my story, why I came to California.

“I read about the beat poets, Jack Kerouac, people who weren’t conforming and this is where they lived.” Of course by the time I got here San Francisco was full of rich people with their whole net worth tied up in their property values, so those freewheeling days were over and loud music and street parties were hardly a part of the culture any more. Still, there was more freedom in a big city and more opportunity to make money.

An article in the New York Times Online provided the title above. “Dreams don’t go away, they just get smaller.” In the article about the Pushpak railroad that terminates in Mumbai (formerly Bombay) the journalists states the world is no longer mostly rural. An exodus of Indian workers heading for big cities has changed the way we humans can think of ourselves. “This exodus, with a similar one in China, helped push the world over a historic threshold this year: the planet, for the first time, is more urban than rural.”

Dante had a dream as a child, and came a long ways away in the chase. He is not a movie director and never was one. The long list of personal failures in my life makes it nearly impossible for me to ask a woman out on a date. But if I make my dreams a little smaller, I start to feel a little better. If I look around at what I do have, what I have done, I’m not so bad.

It’s interesting to think about a young man riding a 24 hour train to Mumbai hoping to get rich in Bollywood, or a young woman in rural China taking a series of buses from her tiny village to Beijing hoping to open a business. There is money in these cities, and dreams take money the way we dream them. Are we a more hopeful species these days?

Very few of us win. But that thing you do when you are 17 and looking out your window into the woods at night…you turned off a television that was showing you beautiful things that exist somewhere…and your woods are dark…You don’t want to see the stars in the sky at night you want headlights and horns and marquees calling you inside where people gather laughing and drinking and eating…you either go out into those woods, look up and call out the names of constellations or you get on a train and give it your best.


  1. did Dante smack you one for being a wise ass? or did you learn from him that successful people fail and that failures only do things which they know they will succeed?

    Comment by Scruffy cat — November 26, 2007 @ 9:34 am

  2. Hmmm…i wasn’t trying to say Dante was a failure. I was trying to talk about being young and wanting something, leaving home to find it, and not finding exactly what you thought you wanted, but still being glad you dared to leave.
    Dante is a successful person, he is very kind and generous and has raised three daughters and married a woman he really loves.
    He didn’t become a film director, but that failure allowed him many successes.

    I hate when I mess up like that. Sorry Dante!

    Comment by Rolston — November 26, 2007 @ 5:25 pm

  3. Ron, did I mentioned that one of my proudest moments after I retired was in 2004 when I picketed Wal-Mart for about 11 months every single day for one hour carrying a sign that at the beginning said “Buy products Made in USA” and after being asaulted by the manager and some bozos I switched sign “Wal-Mart is killing USA” and location (moved to the sidewalk)and my painfull failure was that I was not able to attract anyone, man, woman or child to picket with me. My other sign in my car waited and waited and waited….and nothing. That really hurt.

    Comment by Dante — December 4, 2007 @ 1:18 pm

  4. It’s Jon, not Ron.

    Comment by Rolston — December 6, 2007 @ 9:11 pm

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